Salmon is easily one of the most popular types of fish to eat globally. It can be used in so many recipes such as sushi and can even be used in a bagel for the perfect lunch. Salmon can also be used as the centerpiece of a dish as well, being fried similar to a steak and plated with varying vegetables on the side.

It is common knowledge that you must remove the bones from salmon, yet some people also worry about eating salmon skin. Surprisingly, salmon skin is completely edible and also has some nutritional benefits which make it ideal to not remove.

grilled fish, cooked vegetables, and fork on plate

Is salmon skin healthy?

The health benefits in which salmon skin provides are quite surprising. It has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids found anywhere on the fish and these are known to decrease your risk of heart disease due to lowering your triglyceride levels and blood pressure.

Keeping this skin attached and intact also helps keep the healthy nutrients and oils inside the fish as without it they would get lost during the cooking process.

Salmon as a whole is considered incredibly healthy and many health professionals recommend eating it multiple times a week due to how healthy it actually is. I’m not lying when I say that the health benefits are insane.

Salmon is also known to contain impressive levels of vitamin B and vitamin D as well as many essential minerals. Salmon also contains selenium which is an essential trace mineral that helps with many bodily processes such as:

  • Cognition
  • Immune system function
  • Fertility

Omega-3 fatty acids are important due to the fact that our bodies cannot naturally make them so the only way to receive some is through our diet. Other than helping with heart disease, omega-3 fatty acids also help with keeping the skin supple and healthy, as well as protecting the eyes from age-related complications.

Risks of eating salmon skin

Despite being rather healthy, salmon and other fish are known to be easily contaminated by the pollutants in our water. Because of this, it is essential that you know where your fish comes from. Most popular and well-trusted retailers will only have safe fish as they mostly have farmed salmon and adhere to strict sourcing guidelines. Wild-caught salmon have an increased risk of this as they have not been in such clean conditions throughout their lifetime and have potentially been in contaminated waters.

Fish skin is known to absorb these pollutants so removing it does lower the risk of consuming any. The pollutants absorbed can be chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs, which have been linked to an increased amount of birth defects. This means that pregnant women should be especially careful when starting to have an increase of fish in their diet.

As well as PCBs, salmon can also absorb methylmercury which is a toxin known to be dangerous to humans when consumed in large amounts. Methylmercury is also known to cause birth defects and has also proven to be harmful to younger children. Parents should properly research the source of their fish before adding it to their diet despite the additional nutrients.

The nutrients found in salmon are generally very healthy but the high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids (used to keep the salmon warm) has been known to interact with certain medications such as blood thinners or anticoagulants. It is a low chance that there will be any health concerns but before making a significant change to your diet, consult your doctor if you are on these medications.

If you give a fish to a hungry man, you will feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish, you'll feed him his whole life.

How to cook salmon with the skin

Cooking salmon with the skin still attached is not very different from how you would normally cook it, but there are ways to make it a much nicer experience. For instance, you can make the salmon skin (and all other fish skin) crispy when you cook it so that you get a nice texture and mouthfeel while eating. You can eat salmon raw, despite not being red meat, but cooked salmon is better with the skin as raw salmon skin can have a very tough texture and can be an unpleasant experience. How you cook and prepare the salmon is absolutely personal preference but to really take advantage of the skin, there are certain ways that are optimal.

Frying salmon

One of the most popular cooking methods for anyone who wants to eat salmon is to fry it. This method consists of having the salmon in a pan on the stove. For this method, all you will need is either a pan or skillet, some cooking oil, and your salmon.

You want to have your salmon cut into fillets and be prepped and ready. Before adding the salmon you want to add a decent splash of your cooking oil to the pan and set the stove to medium-high heat. Once the oil is visibly hot and has started to become less viscous, you want to place the salmon fillets down with the skin side touching the pan. There should be an audible sizzle once the salmon starts to fry.

While frying the salmon, it is helpful to use a spoon to baste some of the oil onto the top of the salmon. This will help to make sure it is evenly cooked and also add a crispy and flavorful outer layer to the fillet.

When salmon is cooking it will change color from a translucent reddish color to a more iconic opaque pink. Salmon will also start to be more flakey once cooked so after about 5 minutes of cooking start periodically checking it by using a sharp knife and looking at the center of the thickest part to see if it has both changed colors and begun to flake.

Once done, transfer the salmon fillet to your plate and serve with your desired pairings. Personally, I recommend pairing the salmon with potatoes and a salad drizzled with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Conclusion

As stated previously, you can eat salmon skin as it is entirely edible and has a surprising amount of nutrients contained within that are beneficial to the human body and also help with healthy bones. However, make sure to check your source of where the salmon is from as wild salmon, and other marine organisms can absorb pollutants from contaminated waters. These are especially harmful to pregnant people as they are known to cause birth defects.

Health professionals and the FDA recommends eating salmon at least twice a week just because the benefits of eating it are so high.

Is it safe to eat fish skin?

Yes, it is completely safe to eat fish skin, although you must check where the fish come from as they are prone to absorbing pollutants.

Can you eat salmon skin and scales?

You can eat salmon skin and scales, and it is even recommended due to the high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids that it contains.

Does salmon skin taste good?

The skin of a salmon does not have a very different taste to the fish itself, but the texture can be slightly offputting. To counter this, you can fry the salmon to make the skin crispy as this improves it a lot.

What is the grey stuff in salmon?

The grey stuff on salmon is the insulating fat for the fish, it is perfectly safe to eat although it is oftentimes removed by retailers for cosmetic reasons despite having a very strong and nice flavor.